Sports Wall of Fame

Maurice Van Vliet

Dr. Maury Van Vliet, BSc ('36 University of Oregon), MSc (University of Oregon), PhD ('51 UCLA), is a Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, as well as as Sports Wall of Fame member. He was a pioneer and pre-eminent Canadian educator in physical education and sport, as well as a widely heralded sport administrator, an excellent coach, a builder of Canadian and university sport and a friend to thousands of students who studied at the University of Alberta.

Under his leadership, Physical Education was expanded to become a full department on the University of Alberta campus with a degree curriculum. The department then became a School and finally a Faculty in 1964, and in 1967, the Faculty became the first Physical Education school in the Commonwealth to offer a Doctor of Philosophy degree. The University of Alberta's kinesiology, sport, and recreation complex is named in his honour.

Maury Van Vliet was born in Bellingham, Washington and received his high school and junior college education in California where he lettered in four sports; track, football, basketball and baseball. He then continued his education at the University of Oregon, receiving his Bachelor and Master’s degrees while competing in football and baseball. In 1951 he earned his Doctorate from UCLA. Despite receiving an offer from the New York Yankees, Dr. Van Vliet accepted the newly created position of Physical Education Director at the University of British Columbia, where he stayed for ten years. Following that, he took a position at the University of Alberta, where he was appointed as a full professor with tenure in 1945, and served as Director, Chairman and founding Dean of the Faculty from 1945 to 1978.

Dr. Van Vliet was selected as President of the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton. The successful staging of the Games brought world recognition to the University, the City and the Province. Dr. Van Vliet’s many contributions to the development of sport and physical education programs in Canada has resulted in seven Canadian universities recognizing him with Honorary Doctoral degrees. He was also named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1978; inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum in 1980, and inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

His legacy and generosity also resulted in the opening of the Sports Hall of Fame space in 2015, a space that houses the Sports Wall of Fame, as well as a tribute to Dr. Van Vliet.